Poll Question 301- How old is your main gaming computer?

28th September 2014

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

In the first in a short series of hardware polls, this week’s poll is about the age of your main gaming computer.

The question was suggested by a reader who is building a mod and has decided to ensure his son’s computer can run it, since it’s quite old.

It’s a sensible philosophy but when he suggested it to me, we couldn’t find a good way of classifying PCs.

In the end, we decided to simply things and ask about the age of a user’s PC.

In fact, it’s got me thinking about a database of users’ PC specifications as a way of grouping them so that modders can set levels that their mod would work for. Of course, the fact that the game that the mod is made for runs on a PC should be enough but since the games we are modding for are quite old it seems sensible to at least think about it.

I will talk with Jan about adding something like this to a user’s profile and then collating the details onto the statistics page to give modders some idea of the average PP reader PC.

In the coming weeks, I’ll add a few more poll questions about readers hardware.

Time to Vote


  1. 3 months?
    But before that: 10 years, very little replaced parts.

  2. Josh Zemlinsky

    My PC is about 3-4 years old, well recently I had almost all parts renewed, but it still has the original power supply, and 1 original hard drive, and disc drive. And of course the Case. However, it’s slightly modified (internally) to take the larger cooling fan.

    I couldn’t bother buying a new case, after finding that the new cooler for my new motherboard was too big lol

  3. Stefan Wagner

    Mein PC ist ein halbes Jahr alt. Bulldozer 6300, 64 Bit, nvidia 630gt

    1. Stefan Wagner

      Mein PC ist ein halbes Jahr alt. Bulldozer 6300, 64 Bit, nvidia GT610 + 2gB

  4. Hec

    Between 3 and 5 years I bought it on 2010!! :o, and I am seriously thinking on change it before this year is over.

  5. My current pc uses a core i5 3330 with 8gb of corsair xms3 ram(1333mhz) and this is mounted on a gigabyte h61ma-d2v … graphics come in the shape of a 1gb radeon HD6790 and theres a 1tb WD hard drive used in conjunction with a sandisk 32gb readycache ssd ….. this gives me ssd like speeds and works best with my most used applications and games
    the case is a NZXT M59 and all is cooled by a cool it eco alc (advanced liquid cooling ) ….. age wise your looking at around 2 to 3 years old and my next upgrade will be a better graphics card ( looking at the R9 270 )

  6. My computer is 5 years old but I have upgraded every component this year. I have never really had a problem with running valves games on either machine though.

  7. Gambini

    It seems that you mixed a few lines in your text Phillip. Second sentence of fifth paragraph.

    Anyway I have a 1 year old pc, but it´s not a big thing (Core i3 3770, 4gb, Gtx 650ti) and it runs mods with no problem, but I wonder if there still are old toasters around because I’d like to know how much I can go with detail on my upcoming mod. My kids pc is a Dual Core with 3gb and a 9600GT, and I wonder if providing support for older computers is worth or just go with my own pc as benchmark.

  8. galocza

    i voted between 1 and 3 but i cheated.
    my mobo and cpu were hand-me-downs from my younger brother (hand-me-ups? 8) about 21 months ago but even then were a bit outdated. still, its a i7-920, i run it on factory specifications but i know its intelburnintest stable @4ghz. according to ark.intel its about 5-6 years old.
    about 2 years ago i backed defense grid 2 and with that came my gpu, a radeon hd 6870 also quite an elderly one. still, it seems to be enough for now.
    the components that were really new are the ram modules, my alpenföhn brocken cooler (to get the cpu to 4ghz if needed), a new house and an ssd, all of them about 21-24 months old.

  9. JG

    I don’t know precisely, but I suspect my PC is about 5 years old, but it is still capable of running most things.

    It does noticeably chug when I haven’t optimized a map, by which I mean it runs at sub-30 fps. That’s a good sign that I need to cut back on detail.

  10. AI

    At my age (68) I still love gamming, been doing it for 31 yrs. I don’t make mods/maps just play ’em! So my latest creation has an AMD FX 8350 cpu (4ghz) liquid cooled, Nvidia GTX650 Ti Boost video for now, a 980 is on order! 16gigs ram (1333Mhz) upgradible to 32Gigs, 3 drives, a 2TB for the main, and 2 1Tb for game storage and other stuff —- no slowdowns at all!! Played Wolfenstein – The new Order, without a wimper!

  11. Mine has parts that go back several years, and only the graphics card is actually “new” new (and not a new model, just an unused, older model). But that said, I’ve had to change my computer’s hardware around several times over the last few years, so I’ve got a variety of different ages that qualify.

    It’s really not the ‘age’ but the ‘quality’ of parts, that matter IMO. Some folks on the Steam forums seem to think that “all new laptop” is better than “finding quality parts” – and then are surprised when that laptop isn’t geared FOR gaming, and they can no longer play the games their older one could.

    1. It’s really not the ‘age’ but the ‘quality’ of parts, that matter IMO.

      I think everybody would agree with you on that but it’s impossible to gauge with so many different parts available.

      1. Zekiran

        Not really, as there are dozens of reputable comparison sites out there with a plethora of good information about every single card, mobo, ram stick and accessory out there. It takes maybe 10 minutes to get a good comparison of your card versus the world, at this point.

  12. I upgraded my PC at the beginning of the year so I could play some of the newer games released that were struggling to run on my last PC, which was past 5 yrs old at the time. I’m hoping that this one will stand the test of time as my last faithful PC did.

  13. As I have always built my own PC’s, using the “Triggers broom paradox” (also known as Theseus’ paradox) my main computer is 12+yrs old. To deliberately misquote the 1982 single by Hot Chocolate “It started with a case”.

    Since getting the case various upgrades have occurred:
    3X new mobo’s
    7X memory
    2X PSU’s
    5X HDD
    4X graphics card
    3X monitors
    4X keyboards
    3X Mouse (Mice?)
    2X DVD
    6X OS (various including Linux)

    but it is still intrinsically the same 12+yrs old computer and does everything I need it to do!

    The “Triggers broom paradox” on YouTube:

  14. Blue Lightning

    Windows 7 here, 2 years old.

    My PC plays everything just fine. The only gripe I have is Valve updates it’s engine, and suddenly none of my older mods work. I wish Valve would just stop.

    1. JG

      It’s difficult to imagine any Steampipe-scale changes that could happen down the line. Given that they still haven’t fixed many things that Steampipe broke, and their recent fascination with Linux, I think it’s safe to say HL2 is being ignored for now.

      That said – holy crap – I wish they would fix the infamous autosave lockup/stutter. It’s ridiculous how everyone is apparently okay with it being in their flagship product for over a year now. It’s like we’ve come full circle, taking me back to the early days of the game and its infamous sound stu stu stu stu stu stu stu stutter.

      1. Blue Lightning

        The problem is Valve has something good, then screws it up. I’m not a fan of Ep2’s engine to be honest, I don’t like what it did to HL2. I liked the 2004 version much better. The Ep2 engine update screwed up the HL2 game…the gibs are messed up and look to gaudy, we lost the underwater sub sounds, the road tunnels of Highway 17 are now lit up, etc. It’s almost too much to bear…and for what? Ep2 in my estimation was a huge fail on Valve’s part. Way too linear and scripted. Ep1, although also linear and scripted, had an atmosphere that made it plausible and worth it.

        I’ve played HL2 about 5 times, and replayed Water Hazard, Highway 17 and Sandtraps probably 40 times. But I haven’t replayed Ep2 even one time.

  15. Well,since crossplatformdevelopment took over in the gaming industry the
    upgrade cycle for gaming pc`s has drasticly lenghtend.
    I build my pc in spring 2011 and its by no means a powerhorse,but nevertheless
    still today i have not the feeling that upgrading is necessary.

  16. galocza

    as most answers to this question are pretty vague (including mine), wouldnt it be more productive to ask the readers to run a benchmark?
    maybe lost coast video stress would do, lets say on highest settings and at the native display resolution of the readers monitor.
    and/or ask for cpu, gpu, amount of ram, and cpu/video benchmark results from https://www.cpubenchmark.net.

    1. You must have read my mind! I have been looking for a suitable one and I will test 3DMark Basic Edition 1.3.708 this weekend.

    2. JG

      Well, if you really want to make it easy, just use the data Valve already compiles from the Steam hardware surveys. It’s all public information on their web site. You’re not going to find a more accurate, average estimate.

  17. Heinz

    6 years old Core Duo with 8 GB DDR2-Ram and NVidia GTX650Boost, no issues with any game. OK I cant play everything in Full HD, but there is no problem with that, because for me fun matters much more than Ultrahigh Graphics.

  18. I just try and keep up with DirectX,,
    Valve forced the world to upgrade to 11,,
    so I expect HL3 will upgrade the same.

    I have a DX11 8800GTX that I bought for HL2, it still rocks,, but now just sits in on the shelf,, sad.

  19. asterixer

    My PC is 2 Years Old. Bought it from Fujitsu to Run Linux on it. I Tested the most mods on Linux. (suse 12.3, amd64)
    PC: i5 with Nivida Graka gt630, 12gb ram.

    1. JG

      Ironically, I think that using Wine to run the Windows versions of Steam and Half-Life 2 works better than the native Linux versions of both.

      Wine has come a really long way over the years. Now, it even runs Hammer Editor and lets you compile maps. It’s certainly conceivable that, with a little patience, you could build a Half-Life 2 map in Linux now.

  20. Hey Phillip, your idea about the database sounds interesting,

    My own gaming computer is two years old, I’m using Windows 7 on it since it’s mainly for games.

    It has a Intel Core i7 (didnt bother to overclock), 16GB of Corsair RAM, ASUS P8Z77 MB, GTX 680, Asus Soundcard, Intel SDD, 500GB WD 7200rpm HDD and Novatech PSU.

    I have always been a fan of Apple’s (older) Mac Pro case design I decided to hack a MicroATX build into a gutted case I got off ebay, here it is with the door open: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A_SwVfKCIAAWaaa.jpg:large

    I don’t play too many intensive games, so hopefully I wont have to upgrade this for a while.

    1. AI

      Alex, the Mac case you have in the pic, is it a older G5?? If so I have an older G5 (late 2005) and was trying to figure out what to do with it!! YOU just answered my question!!! If you have any other pics of it would you get my e-mail from PP and send them to me? It looks real nice thanks for sharing. 😉

      1. Hey AI,

        Yeh it’s an old G5, purchased it gutted on eBay for about £40 in near mint condition.


        It requires little modification to the actual case for doing MicroATX, Full ATX however required a lot of work that I didn’t want to do, so that was the only limitation.

        I will say it took some time to do though, had to make my own motherboard tray out of metal sheets since Apple used a bespoke motherboard size. I also had to cut out a strip for the I/O in the back and mount a plate for the intake fans.

        I also made the DVD door work correctly, but it is only openable via Ejecting in Windows. The buttons, LED and ports on the front had to be manually wired too.

        I keep meaning to share some videos/photos of it sometime so I’ll make sure to share them with you whenever I get round to it!

        Theres a few people doing it on YouTube too but I found most people overcomplicating it for the sake of full ATX.

  21. Got mine about 4 years ago, maybe a little longer, it came as a midi desktop but kept overheating. I had a mate rip it’s guts out and stick them in a proper tower with 2 extra cooling fans, been fine since then apart from frying the graphics card eventually, so that was replaced a couple of months ago with something newer. Processor is quad core, hard drive 120 gig and 2 gig memory. It’s not the fastest tool in Town, but it works, however I am hoping for something better next year, let the Mrs have this….now hers is a real antique ! Not really up on things (tech spec), but would an Alienware one be where I should be heading ? Hard to think what the ultimate gaming PC would be, as soon as you get something it’s already out of date…bah..

  22. Miigga

    Maybe slightly over 5 years, but it did have a GPU upgrade in late 2011 or early 2012 or something so I went with 3-5 years

  23. Ade

    Spring 2013, re-built my entire PC (specs are in my profile on the btc site) minus the peripherals, and since then renewed my mouse (Razer Deathadder 2013) last autumn, and my keyboard (Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Knuker) n headset (GAMECOM Plantronics 380) this spring. The monitor would be the oldest, about 4 years idk. And I should replace my 2 yr old gaming mousepad. That would make an avg between 1 and 3 yrs.

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